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Full text of "Improvement and management of "slick-spot" soil"

THE IMPROVEMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF 

"SLICK-SPOT" SOIL 



by<^<2 

RONALD LEE IBBETSON 
B. S., Kansas State University, 19 &± 



A MASTER'S THESIS 



submitted in partial fulfillment of the 



requirements for the degree 



FASTER OF SCIENCE 



Department of Agronomy 



KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY 
Manhattan, Kansas 

19^9 

Approved by: 




I,1ajor Professor 






TABLE OF CONTENTS 



Page 
INTRODUCTION 

REVIEW OF LITERATURE 2 

Alkali and it's formation 2 

Genesis J 

Chemical properties 7 

Kinds of alkali 12 

Reclamation of alkali soils 17 

Inorganic amendments 17 

Organic amendments 19 

Polyelectrolytes 19 

Deep -plowing 20 

Other amendments 20 

Control of alkali soil 21 

EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE 22 

1965 Field Experiment 22 

1966 Field Experiment 25 

Laboratory Investigations. . 26 

RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS 29 

1965 Field Experiment 29 

1966 Field Experiment \A\ 

Laboratory Investigations ^0 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 60 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 65 

LITERATURE CITED 66 



INTRODUCTION 

A vision of desolation arisos immediately in the minds of soil scientists 
when the word "alkali" is mentioned, Thoy picture a barren tract of land 
devoid of vegetation with a dispersed surface. 

Alkali has prevented the cultivation of vast areas of land, and has caused 
the abandonment of many acres of once -productive land (7, 20). 

Soil alkali lowers the value and productivity of extensive land areas in 
the United States. It is an especially serious problem to irrigation agri- 
culture. In the United States, Bower and Firemen (7) reported about 25 percent 
of the 29 million acres of irrigated land and less extensive acreages of non- 
irrigated and pasture lands to be affected by salinity and alkalinity. These 
figures indicate the importance of the problem in the United States. 

Centuries ago, Arab tribesmen noting that alkali soils looked like wood 
ashes, called them by the Arabic term for ashes, alkali. In Russia the terms 
solonetz, solonchak, and soloth are used to describe saline or alkali soils 
(29). Solodizad-Solonetz and Solonetz soils collectively have been called 
natric soils due to their characteristic B horizons which have been termed 
natric horizons in the new U.S. Soil Classification System (7th Approximation) 

(52). 

Saline and alkali soils have been caused by soluble salts consisting 
mainly of sodium, magnesium, calcium, chloride, and sulfate and secondarily of 
potassium, carbonate, bicarbonate, and sometimes nitrate and boron (7 > 5h) . 

The alkali soils of this study owe their distinctive morphology and 
character to excessive exchangeable sodium. Soluble salts high in sodium harm 
plants by increasing the salt content of the soil solution and the percent 
saturation of exchangeable sodium on the exchange complex. When the soluble 



soil constituents consist largoly of sodium salts, tho metallic cation.-; other 
than sodium loach moro readily, increasing the porcontago saturation of 
exchangeable sodium on tho oxchango complex, producing a dispersed poorly 
structured soil. 

In humid climates poorly structured, high-sodium soils occur in snail 
areas. These soils, called "alkali spots" or "slick spots", occur throughout 
eastern Kansas and adjacent states. They are easily recognized by their whit9 
or light-gray color, their dispersed and crusted surface structure, and their 
sparse vegetation. 

These spots occur chiefly in depressions, at the sides or heads of draws, 
on the sides and at the bottoms of small slopes and sometimes on level land. 
They vary greatly in size, chemical composition, and physical properties. 
Formation of those spots generally has been attributed to lateral and vertical 
water seepage, to high water tables, or to restricted drainage. 

The objectives of this study were l) to determine the chemical properties 
of a "slick-spot" soil, 2) determine its classification and 3) suggest 
practical and economical methods of amelioration that may be recommended to 
farmers. Therefore the cheapest and most widely applicable treatments were 
used in the study. 

REVIEW OF LITERATURE 
Alkali and it's formation 



The cause of soil alkali is not easily explained. Opinions differ as to 
its mode of formation. The many different salts that are involved, each with 
its ovm properties; the different soils, all with different textures and 
composition; the complex reactions between the salts in the soil and the plants 
growing on it; and the economic aspects involved in reclamation of alkali are 



as difficult to solve as any problom in agricultural scionco. 

Salino and alkali coils in the Unitod Statos, Europe, and Canada havo boon 
studied for almost a century. Hilgard, Godroiz, Hisaink, do Sigmond, and 
Kolley are outstanding invostigators in this fiold, having raado basic contri- 
butions to our knowledge of genesis, classification, and methods of reclamation 
of alkali soils (59). 

Genesis 



Several theories have been advanced regarding the origin of alkali soils, 
the more important of which are mentioned here. 

Hilgard (22) first related origin of soil alkali to primary-minerals 
weathering in rocks. All soils consist largely of weathered-rock particles and 
almost all rocks are rich in alkali salts. In arid regions evaporation and 
lack of leaching leaves most of the salts on the surface where their presence 
causes soil dispersion and poor structure. A large portion of these salts are 
leached and carried out of most of the humid region soils* Glinka (17, 18) 
also supported this theory. 

Soil parent material is the most probable source of alkali salts in soils. 
Kelley (29) stated that the source of alkali was secondary deposits, such as 
shales, sandstones, glacial and windborne materials, and unconsolidated 
alluvium of various goological ages which became the parent material of the 
present soils. This theory is held by many others including Norton and Bray 
(3U). Similarly, Drosdoff, as reported by Wilding et al . (60), theorized that 
the weathering of sodium foldspars in situ was the source of sodium in the 
solonetzic soils of Illinois. A combination of these theories with some modi- 
fication also is held by the U.S. Salinity Laboratory staff (5U). 

Wilding et al. (60) stated that the solonetzic soils of southern Illinois 
were due to weathering of composite Farmdale and Peorian loess. They postulated 



that differential ro distribution of soluble products of wo at boring was 
rosponsiblo for extractable sodium accumulations in Illinois solonetzio soils. 
Fohronbachor et al. (12) outlinod the gonosis of Illinois solonetzio soil 

formed in nearly level fields. Concentrations of sodium wore explained by the 

permeability of the old soil that had developed in the glacial till before 

1/ 
loess was deposited. They found that till underlying natric soils was four or 

five times more permeable than the underlying associated non-natric soils. In 
the early stages of soil development, downward-percolating water or the moisture 
streamlines were channeled through this permeable till causing the soluble 
products of weathering to be concentrated in the lower part of the loess over- 
lying this permeable till (Figure 1, initial stage). Because of low carbon- 
dioxide pressures at this depth and soil drying in late summer, calcium and 
magnesium precipitated and formed carbonate concentrations increasing the 
proportion of sodium on the exchange complex of the soil. 

With increasing sodium, the 3 horizon became more highly saturated with 
sodium, more dispersed and less permeable • The B horizon eventually may be as 
little as one -seventeenth as permeable as the B of adjacent soils. 

Once this condition develops, the natric soil wets up slowly and 
infrequently. With the resulting moisture gradient, water moving downward from 
the surface laterally from wetter associated soil is intercepted, concentrating 
sodium in the clay. Repeated wetting and drying cycles cause the dispersed 
clay to migrate both laterally and upward, so that the B horizon is shallower 
than in the associated normal soil. As the B horizon of the natric soil becomes 
less permeable more downward moving water is channeled to and through the 



l/ 

-'Natric is the term applied to alkali soils that have a characterxstic 

(columnar or prismatic) 3 horizon which has been termed a natric horizon in the 
new U.S. Soil Classification System (7th Approx.) (53) • 






Initial Stage 



Advanced Stage 



Non~- 
Solonetsic 



Incipient 
Solonetzic 








lilinoicn 
Till Pclecsol 



/ / £>££«/ / / / '£w <: ;. / / / / / 



-> STREAMLINES 



7 ' llltnoion 
Till Paleoso! 



>*vt. 



/-->\ MORE PERMEABLE TILL ZONE 
CARBONATE CONCRETIONS 



Fig. 1. Schematic diagram of moisture streamlines during initial 
(left) and advanced (right) stages of solonetzic soil 
development. 



adjacent non-natric soil (Figure 1, advanced stage). 

Seawatar spray and flooding at high tides are known to cause alkali soils 
along the sea coasts (l). Russol (1+8) reported that all of Iraq was cnco 
covered by a great sea whose sediments later consolidated to form shales, 
limestones, and sandstones highly impregnated with salts. Similar conditions 
occurred in the United States (20, I4B). 

Vilensky (58) suggested that salt residue that precipitated from melt 
waters of the last glaciation caused soil salinity. 

Robinson (I4.6) reasoned that a rise in the level of salt-bearing ground 
water could cause salinifi cation. This may take place naturally in some 
places, but most frequently occurs under inadequate drainage or improper 
management of soils or irrigation water. 

Ahi (l) reported that the water table of the San Joaquin Valley of Cali- 
fornia once was 65 feet below the surface and the soil was practically free of 
salts. As a result of irrigation without adequate under-drainage the water 
table rose to 2-3 feet below the surface and the soils became affected with 
alkali . 

Sandoval et al. (I|9)> (5^) an( i Benz et al. (6) reported that naturally 
high water tables caused the salinity of 1+00,000 acres of non-irrigated semi- 
arid to sub-humid land in the Red River Valley of North Dakota. 

Bower and Fireman (7) stated that restricted drainage caused either by a 
high v/ater table or low permeability may contribute to the salinization of 
soils. Usually a high water table occurs in low lands as a result of excessive 
runoff from the adjoining higher land. 

Whenever surface or subsurface drainage is restricted, high water tables 
often result. Then if water or soil is high in alkali salts, these salts 
remain to cause saline and alkali conditions when the water is removed by 



evaporation or brans pi rat ion (7, 20, 33* UO). 

Chemical proportion 

Accumulation of soluble salts affects tho chemical, physical, and micro- 
biological properties of the soils. These transformations were completely 
overlooked until the second decade of this century when C-edroiz and Hissink 
began to study them as reported by Kelley (29). 

Although Way (I85O), the discoverer of chemical base exchange, and various 
other investigators of the last half of the nineteenth century, as reported by 
Kelley (29), shaved that base exchange took place in soils upon adding a solu- 
tion of various salts, it was the twentieth century before it was associated 
with alkali soil. Hissink (1907) pointed out that base exchange was probably 
involved with chemical transformation in the wet soils along the coast of 
Holland (29). Gedroiz (1912) showed that base exchange played an exceptionally 
important role in the chemical transformations that produced dry-land alkali 

soils (29). 

Kelley (29) stated that normal soils contained little exchangeable K+ and 
Na+ because those monovalent bases are less strongly adsorbed to the clay 
particles than divalent Ca++ and Mg++. Thus if exchangeable Na+ was adsorbed 
at any stage in the normal process of soil formation, in a humid climate it 
soon would be replaced by other cations in solution as a result of weathering, 
or by H + ions of biological origin. 

According to Kelley (29), calcium can readily replace exchangeable sodium. 
In fact, practically all Na+ that is adsorbed by the soil can be replaced by 
leaching with a very dilute solution of a calcium salt. Practical advantage 
can be made of this fact in the reclamation of alkali soils, as will be pointed 
out later. 



Harris (20) and fiilgard (22) considered the soluble carbon&tor;, of all the 
solublo salts, tho most harmful, on account of thoir soluble action on the 
organic matter of tho soil and the hard crust which they form on the soil. 
They are, however, not so widespread as the chlorides and sulfates. Calcium 
and magnesium carbonates are only slightly soluble compared to sodium carbonate, 
the carbonate that is most harmful to plants 

The relationship of adsorbed ions to alkali soil problems may be briefly 

summarized by the following schematic reactions: (5) 

Na + NaCl 
White alkali soil: Clay) l\ T a Na 2 S0i flocculation and friability 

Black alkali soil: Clay) Na NaOK 

Na NaoC0;z deflocculation and poor physical 



properties 



Na . CaSO^ 



Reclamation of Clay) Na Clay) Ca + Na 2 S0^ 

alkali soils: (leached) 

Kelley (29) pointed out that the percent saturation of the base exchange 
by Na + significantly influences the kinds of sodium salts that accumulate. 
Usually, an alkali soil with a relatively high concentration of sodium carbonate 
has more adsorbed Na + than one which has a high concentration of NaCl or NaNOj. 
In other words, alkali soils containing Na 2 C0^ (black alkali, according to 
Hilgard) are likely to be more highly saturated with Na than soils not 
containing NapC0 7 . 

Although Gedroiz (1912) pointed out that Na 2 C0, may be formed by hydro- 
lysis of adsorbed Na + coupled with the action of COg of the soil, it remained 
for Cummings and Kelley (1923) to demonstrate that high concentrations of 
Na 2 C0x can be formed in this way (29). 

Many investigators have found that upon leaching alkali soils, the rate of 
water penetration diminishes as the salts are leached out. The effect of the 



nature of tho adsorbed ion on tho permeability of water in clays is shown in 
Figure 2. 

Tho entire physical condition of the soil is changed by the presence of 
large quantities of all salts, but certain of the alkali salts, particularly 
sodium, cause complete transformations (29, i^L). Poor penetration of water and 
air becomes especially pronounced when sodium salts comprise a high percentage 
of the total salts (l, 27, 29, 3k) . 

Baver (5) pointed out that if clays are saturated with a highly hydrated 
cation (hydration gives sodium a large ionic radius) such as Na , the zeta 
potential (negative -charge potential) will be high. To explain more fully, the 
clay particles are negatively charged and like negative charges repel each 
other so that the soil would be dispersed if it were not for the adsorption of 
flocculating cations such as Ca"*" 4 ". Na + fails to neutralize all the negative 
charges and so the soil is left negatively charged and remains dispersed, or if 
in the normal use in soils it replaces Ca f+ in a flocculated soil, it causes 
dispersion. To sum up, a cation like sodium is called a dispersing agent due 
to its large hydrated radius plus the faot it has only one plus charge with 
whioh to neutralize the negative soil particles c On the other hand, Ca is a 
flocculating agent because it has two charges for neutralizing soil particles. 

The chief manifestations of salts on the physical condition of the soil 
according to Harris (20) are: (l) Altering of the colloidal substances; (2) 
Change in structure and tilth; (3) Formation of a hardpan in the B horizon; and 
(I4) Change in moisture relations. 

Where alkali soils high in sodium are leached of other soluble salts, 
largely calcium, the clay particles become highly dispersed and tend to pass 
downward with percolating water, thus forming dense subhorizons. Alternate 
wetting and drying produces peculiar morphologioal structures in the form of 



10 




120 140 



Time in Minutes 



Fig. 2. Effect of the nature of the adsorbed ion on the permeability 
of water in clays. 



11 



columns, prisms, or blocks whon dry (29). Such structured coils arc called 
solonetz by Russian soil scientists. These peculiar morphological structure 
are called natric horizons in the new classification system (52) . 

Magnesium has been reported by Whittig (59) as the dominant cation on the 
exchange complex in soils showing typical solonotzic features. Some Canadian 
soil scientists (1>) consider both exchangeable sodium and magnesium responsible 
for causing the typical morphology of solonetzic soils. 

Arshad and Pawluk (l|.) stated that the national Soil Survey Committee of 
Canada (1965) defined solonetzic soils as "soils with solonetzic or disinte- 
grating solonetzic B horizons which have an exchangeable base status in which 
50^ or more is sodium plus magnesium, or which have more than 125? exchangeable 
sodium, and usually have saline subsoils". 

Joffe and McLean (26) reported that at least some of the California 
alkali soils were not purely sodium soils. Apparently, some of the solonetz 
had developed either from Ca or Mg-solonchak or as the result of a secondary 
salinization process. 

Kelley (29) showed that effect of exchangeable sodium varies from soil to 
soil. Bower and Turk (9) reported that an alkali soil from Yakima Valley, 
Washington lacked excessively poor physical conditions, even though it was 
almost 505? Na + saturated. Kelley (29) believed that this was caused, at least 
in part, by the kind of clay. Therefore, he concluded that soils do not 
necessarily return to normal permeability once exchangeable sodium has been 
replaced with Ca ' . 

Gedroits, as reported by Karris (20), showed that many of the physical 
changes ordinarily brought about in soils by salts come from their effect on 
colloids. 

The microbiology of the soil may be markedly influenced by an accumulation 



12 



of salts. Greaves (19) reported that monovalent anions are more toxic to coil 
bacteria than divalent anions . 

Unfortunately littlo is known about the relations between high salt 
concentrations or exchangeable sodium to bacterial processes. 

Kinds of alkali 

The classifications of alkali soils into sharply defined categories is as 
impossible as, for example, a definite separation of sandy loams from fine 
sandy loams. The usual case is that they merge almost imperceptibly from one 
to another (29) . 

Alkali soils have been divided into (a) "white alkali" and (b) "black 
alkali", depending upon the accumulated salts present. This differentiation 
■was first made by Eilgard (22). 

Alkali consists of four principle types of salts, namely, chlorides, 
sulfates, carbonates, and bicarbonate s of the various bases primarily calciu::;, 
scdium, magnesium and sometimes potassium. The sulfates and chlorides of 
alkali show efflorescence (white shiny appearance) during dry periods, as a 
result of evaporation, on the surface of the soil from which the American term 
"white alkali" is derived. Where hydrolysis of the sodium clays has formed 
KaOH and EaCCu the corrosive action on vegetable matter produces a brown or 
black deposit on the soil surface, giving rise to the name, "black alkali". 
Black alkali is more destructive to plants than white alkali (l, 20, 22). 

Kelley (29) divided alkali soils into several different categories. The 
first of these is strongly alkaline alkali soils. These soils contain sub- 
stantial amounts of soluble carbonate and relatively high concentrations of 
soluble Na . On the other hand, soluble calcium is lav in every one of these 
soils. Accordingly, exchangeable Na* was found to comprise 5° or more percent 



13 



of tho total exchangeable bases (29). 

A second category is the moderately alkaline alkali soils. These soilr. 
contain hut little soluble CO^ — , and the ratio of soluble Na + to soluble Ca' ' 
is considerably less than in the strongly clkcline soils. Accordingly, 
exchangeable Na + comprises only about 25/£ of the total exchangeable ions (29). 

Third are the alkali soils containing much soluble Ca""". These were 
practically free from soluble COj and the ratio of soluble Ka"*" to soluble Ca 
was comparatively low. Although these soils contain greater absolute amounts 
of soluble Na than of soluble Ca"*""*" plus Kg" 1 "" 1 *, and some of them contain high 
concentrations of soluble Na , none contains important percentages of exchange- 
able Na + . In fact, the percentage Na + saturation of tho exchange material of 
these soils is approximately that of dry-climate normal soils (29). 

A fourth category is tho nonsaline alkali, or solonetz-like, alkali soil. 
There are a considerable number of relatively small areas of alkali soil in the 
United States, which have comparatively low concentrations of soluble salts on 
which the natural vegetation usually fails to grow. The soil profile of some, 
but by no means all, of these spots closely resembles that described by Russian 
soil scientists under the name of solonetz (29). This soil will be further 
described under the Russian solonetz. 

Another commendable classification of alkali soil has been made by Russian 
investigators (1, 29). In this classification, saline and alkali soils are 
divided into several types, the more common groupings used in the United States 
are the Solonchak, Solonetz, Solonchak-Solonetz, and the Solodi. 

The profiles of Solonchak (saline or white alkali) soils are characterized 
bv an excess of soluble salts and the colloids are saturated with divalent and 
monovalent cations, primarily Ca 44 *, Mg" H ", Na + , and K . Excess of soluble salts 
prevents the hydrolysis of sodium from the exchange complex and keeps the 



Ill 



colloids flocculated At timer; tho maximum concentration of salts occurs at or 
near the surface and at other times it is more concentrated at some distance 
below the surface. The extent of the salts at different depths of the coil, 
however, depends on the position of the water table, the concentration and 
corvoosition of the soluble salts, the amount and distribution of the rainfall, 
and the general character of the soil of the region. The Solonchak soils are 
not strongly alkaline because the excess of soluble salts prevents hydrolysis 
of the sodium-bearing complexes (l). 

The Solonetz (black alkali) soils are characterized by a low content of 
soluble salts. The exchange complexes are largely saturated with bases of which 
sodium constitutes a high percentage. Because of this high percentage of 
sodium, high alkalinity is developed. The high sodium content causes dispersion 
of the colloids, therefore, the soil becomes extremely sticky and tenacious when 
wet and very hard when dry. These soils exhibit subsoil horizons with prismatic, 
columnar, or blocky-type structure. The unstable soil undergoes rapid degra- 
dation under the influence of exchangeable sodium, which is directly or 
indirectly responsible for the def locculation of the colloids (l, 12). 

Analyses of solonchak-solonetz profiles show that these soils have 
sustained some leaching, but only enough to cause partial removal of soluble 
salts. These soils consequently are about half way between solonchak and 
solonetz soils (18, 29, 1+7 )• 

Joffe (25) broke the evolution of saline soils into 3 stages. The first 
stage represents a process of salinization, the accumulation of soluble salts 
at or near the surface of the soil profile. Such a soil is known as solonchak. 

The second stage is a process of de salinization whereby the soluble salts 
are leached from near the surface to the bottom of the 3 or into the C horizon, 
and the exchange complex is subjected to a considerable saturation with Na and 



15 



sometimes Mg. This soil is called a solonetz. 

Tho third stage represents a more thorough leaching of the profile, 

whereby the soluble salts are completely removed from the profile ar:'l, as a 

result of hydrolytic reactions, the silicates are split and SiC>2 is released. 

This soil attains a somewhat bleached appearance and resembles a podzol . At 

this stage the soil is known as solcdi. 

Probably the most widely used alkali-soil classification in the United 

States today is the one found in the United States Salinity Laboratory 

Handbook K T o. 60 (5U). 

According to this classification a saline soil is one for which the 
conductivity of the saturation extract is more than k millimhos per cm. at 25 C 
and the exchangeable -sodium-percentage is less than 15. Ordinarily, the pi is 
less than 8.5. It corresponds to Eilgard's "white alkali" soils and to the 
"solonchak" of the Russian soil scientists. Owing to the presence of excess 
salts and the absence of significant amounts of exchangeable sodium, saline 
soils generally are flocculated and have good permeability. 

Saline-alkali is applied to soils having electrical conductivity greater 
than k millimhos per cm. at 25°C and exchangeable-sodium-percentage greater 
than 15. These soils are formed by the combined processes of salinization and 
alkalization. Under the conditions of high soluble salts the soils remain 
flocculated and have pH values generally below 8.5. As long as excess salts 
are present the appearance of these soils remain similar to those of saline 

soils . 

Konsaline-alkali is used for soils having exchangeable-sodium-percentage 
greater than 15 and conductivity of the saturation extract less than 1+ millimhos 
per cm. at 25°C. Tho pH generally ranges from 8.5 to 10. 

These soils correspond to Hilgard' s "black alkali" soils and in some cases 



16 



to tho Russian "solonotz". Thoy often occur in small irregular areas, ©ommonly 
roforred to as "slick spots". 

"Nonsalino -alkali soils in sono areas of western United States have 
exchangeable-sodium-percentages considerably above 15, and yet the pH reading, 
especially in the surface soil, may be as low as 6.0. These soils have been 
roforred to by de Sigmond (1938) as degraded alkali soils. They occur only in 
the absence of lime, and the low pH results from the presence of exchangeable 
hydrogen. The physical properties, however, are dominated by exchangeable 
sodium and are typically those of a nonsaline-alkaline soil." (5U). 

Reclamation of alkali soils 



No single method of reclamation is adapted to all alkali soils due to their 
multi-varied conditions. Many widely varied factors and conditions must be 
taken into account before any one or a combination of known corrective 
measures are adopted. Some of the more important factors that need to be 
considered to ascertain the feasibility of reclaiming a given alkali soil are: 
source of the alkali, physical and structural conditions of the soil, depth to 
the water-table, cost of reclaiming the soil and its subsequent worth, value of 
crops that can be grown, and a number of other considerations (20, 27). Knowledge 
of the aforementioned criteria also will help to determine the measures to use 
in alleviating the alkali problem. The need for an amendment and the kind and 
amount of amendment to apply is best ascertained by soil tests according to 
Reeve and Fireman ( lj2 ) . 

Verhoeven (56) used salt transfer in soil to evaluate water flow in saline 
and alkali soils. Richards (Up) stated that soil suction and capillary 
conductivity measurements would be used increasingly to solve agricultural 
problems relating to the salinization of soils, to the storage or depletion of 



17 



water in soil, and to the ext raction of water from soil by plant-root 

In a broad sonse there aro throe general ways in which alkali ] 
handled in order to avoid, at least partially, the damaging offsets of soluble 
salts. Tho first of those corrective measures is removal of the de- 
salts; the second is a partial conversion of the salts to less injurious forms ; 
and the third, and probably the most important, mo.y be designated as control (32). 

Permanent correction or reclamation of sodic (alkali) soil conditions 
requires removal of excess sodium from the soil and/or conversion into less 
injurious forms. The most common methods used to free, at least partially, the 
soil of alkali are: (l) scraping away the surface soil that is high in alkali, 
(2) flushing the surface soil with water to remove the sodium taken up from the 
soil particles near the surface, and (5) leaching with water to remove soluble 
salts (27, 32). If the soil is a "slick-spot" (a type of black alkali) the 
a-o-olication of gypsum or other chemicals may be needed to convert part of the 
alkali carbonates to surfates, thereby reducing the injurious effects of the 
soluble salts (32, 5U) . 

Inorganic amendments . The application of gypsum can effectively replace 
Ha by Ca , but since gypsum is only moderately soluble in water, extensive 
leaching is necessary for replacement to take place. Lioreover, where the 
concentration of soluble Ha + salts is high, the nature of the equilibrium 
between soluble and exchangeable Ha + by Ca requires the removal of soluble 

Na by leaching (29, 37). 

To obtain adequate drainage sometimes requires tile drain systems (11, 27). 
Humorous researchers have reported on the benefits of gypsum in alkali soil 
melioration. Xelley (29) found gypsum to be effective in reclaiming alkali 
soils. In experiments near Fresno, California, gypsum at the rates of 10, 12, 
and 15 tons per acre was found to give good results. Several workers at the 






California Agricultural Experiment Station (29, 30, 31) show :s to 

bo derived from gypsum. More recently in Illinois (11, 37) gypsum wit 
loaching was found to be van; beneficial. Verhoeven (57) found that when 
gypsum was added before leaching with water, more affective results were 
obtained in reducing salinization and high sodium content, than if leaching was 
started prior to the addition of gypsum. 

In Russia, adding gypsum to solonetz-type soils under irrigation and dry- 
land conditions was found to be highly effective in improving sodium-dispersed 
soils (3). A 10-ton per acre application of gypsum to the Sebree "slick-spot" 
soils of Idaho increased the infiltration rate from 0.01 inch to 0.10 inch per 
hour and to 0.22 inch per hour where 20 tons per acre were applied, .'.'here 10 
tons of gypsum were mixed to a depth of 1+ feet the rate increased to 0.i42 
inches per hour, the same as the associated Chilcott soil (33). 

Padhi et al. (37) in Illinois reported that significant amounts of leachate 
were collected and sodium was removed from columns of disturbed B 2 horizon of a 
solonetzic soil treated with 8 tons per acre of gypsum and a combination of 3 
tons of gypsum and 5 tons of starch per acre. However, starch alone was 
ineffective in removing sodium or c orrecting the physical condition. 

Undesirable physical properties of slick-spots in the Platte and North 
Platte valleys of Nebraska, and at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Vale, 
Oregon were ameliorated by sulfur and calcium chloride (l6, 6l). 

Sulfur, iron sulfate and alum (A1C1?) produced important chemical changes 
in a black-alkali soil near Fresno, California (30). These chemicals were 
effective in alkali reclamation because of the H* ions that were formed. The 
acid formed by the hydrolysis of iron sulfate and alum, or the oxidation of 
sulfur, dissolved calcium carbonate, and possible other minerals, bringing 
calcium into solution. 

Pronounced beneficial effects were observed on a Fresno-type black-alkali 






soil following sulfuric-acid application of 2.85 an d lJ-i2 ton." per acre, 
Groenhouse experiments indicated that improvement of this coil may be expect 
from applications as low as 0J4 ton per aero (35) . 

In reclaiming a Hacienda sorios soil, the application of a heavy irrigation 
once or twice a week, plus sulfuric acid, sulfur, and gypsum were found to be 

effective as reported by Ovorstreet et al. (36). 

Organic amendments . It is well known that organic matter plays an 

essential role in providing soil structure, or tilth that is needed for high 

fertility. Therefore, manure and other organic residues should improve theso 

poor-tilth soils (39). 

Field tests in Oregon (8) on Malheur silt loam with good underdrainage 

have shown that gypsum and barnyard manure effectively increase infiltration 
rates. Rinehart (J4I1.) obtained similar results on Sassafras loam in New Jersey. 
Highest infiltration rates were obtained when a combination of gypsum, and 

manure or other organic materials were used. Johnston and Powers (28), working 
with eastern Oregon soils, stated that manure alone was ineffective in improving 

black alkali, although it improved the tilth and permeability. 

Levans and dextrins, bacterial metabolic polysaccharides produced in the 

formation of soil organic matter, are known to improve the aggregating properties 
of soils (39). Cellulose acetate and carboxymethyl cellulose improve the air- 
water relationships of soil according to Quastel (39). Quastel's results 
confirm the findings of Felber (13) that methyl cellulose increases the soil- 
moisture retention capacity. 

Pol yelectrolytes . Analysis of the decomposition products of organic 

materials has shown compounds that appear to be large or complex polysaccharide 
molecules. The discovery that these specific chemical compounds promoted 
aggregation has led to the development of a number of synthetic soil condi- 
tioners (23). Hedrick and Mowry (21) found that rates of polyelectrolytes up 



20 



to 0.1$ of the plow dopbh increased aggregate stability and therefore aeration 
and percolation. Allison (2) obtained similar results. 

When a polyanion such as a hydrolyzed polyacrylonitrile is applied at 
rates varying from 0.01 to 0.1$ to poor-structured soil, the aggregate analysis 
as determined by wet-sieving is increased, and the working properties are 
improved along with other factors associated with good tilth (21). 

Even though many of the synthetic soil conditioners in the polyeleotrolyte 
field improve soil structure their cost is usually too high for practical 
application in normal field-scale operation (23). 

Deep plowing , Deep plowing to a depth of JO to J>6 inches has been used to 
reclaim low-producing "slick-spot" soils in the loiter Snake River valley of 
Idaho and Oregon in work reported by Rasmus sen (53) • ^ n this area the plowing 
brings up and incorporates naturally occurring gypsum into the surface soil; 
deeo plowing also mixes the clay subsoil with the less clayey topsoil and 
breaks up a cemented soil layer. Rinehart et al. (45) obtained the same effect 
by applying gypsum to soils lacking it. Padhi et al. (37) of Illinois found 
that sodium leached more rapidly from disturbed soil columns and field plots 
than from undisturbed columns and plots of an Illinois solonetzic soil, 
especially in the presence of gypsum. 

Other amendments . When sodic-alkali soil is leached with low-salt content 
water, resulting reduced permeability may decrease the rate of reclamation. 
Increasing the electrolyte concentration of the le achate can materially 
increase the transmission rate of water according to Reeve and Bower (1+L). 
These effects were also shown by Fireman (ll+)» an d Fireman and Bodman (15). 
Quantitative data on the effect of electrolyte concentration on soil permea- 
bility were published by Quirk and Schofield (I4O). They also have pointed out 
the advantages of using high-salt waters for reclamation purposes. Reeve and 



21 



Bower (I4I) obtainod complete reclamation of an experimental noil 00 '-th 
O.I4 foot of Salt on Sea water combined with 6.0 feet of Colorado River water in 
one-tenth tho time required Tor Colorado River water alono. 

Regarding reclamation advances, Jenny (2l{.) wroto in 196l, "Today, over 
three -quarto re of a century have elapsed since Hilgard first postulated his 
reclamation methods. Leaching with or without chemical treatment-depending or. 
local soil conditions is still the key to successful removal of alkali." 

Control of alkali soil 



An important element of alkali control is the retardation of evaporation. 
Carter (10) recommended a soil mulch especially on irrigated lands where 
alkali concentrations are likely to appear. Under the heading of alkali 
control fall the management practices suggested by Johnsgard (27); (l) Selection 
of crops or crop varieties that produce satisfactory yields under moderately 
saline and alkali conditions; replacing wheat with barley, and corn with sorghum 
or sudangrass, for example. (2) Use of land-preparation and tillage methods 
that control or remove salinity or alkali; return all crop residues and add 
additional organic matter such as manure, if practical, particularly to the 
dispersed-soil areas. (3) Use special planting procedures that minimize salt 
accumulation around the seed; for example, plant sugar beets on the side of 
furrow ridges, or ridge ovor the seed to let high salt contents collect at the 
surface above the sprouting seeds. (U) Irrigate so as to maintain a relatively 
high soil-moisture level and at the same time allow for periodic leaching of 
the soil. (5) Maintain water-convoyance and drainage systems such as tile 
drains for impervious soils. (6) Use special treatments, such as additions of 
chemical amendments and organic matter, and grow sod crops to improve structure. 

In practical field reclamation of alkali soils, combinations of these 
preceding ameliorative practices are used. 



TAL PROC 
19&5 Field Experiment 

A so-called "slick-spot" soil, such as commonly occurs emong the soils of 
eastern Kansas and adjacent states, was chosen for this investigation. The soil 
was an unnamed, alkali -affected soil occurring on the Kansas State University 
Agronomy Farm. 

There were two mechanical treatments: (l) plowed at 2L.- inch depth in 
early spring 19 65, (2) plowed at 7-inch depth in fall of 19 61+ . Plate I shows 
deep-plowing operation. 

The location of the deep-plowed block was in field B-l-3 of the Kansas 
State University Agronomy Farm. The location of the shallow-plowed block was 
in field N-2 of the KSU Agronomy Farm, after plowing the seedbed was prepared by 
conventional methods. 

There were 6 soil-conditionor treatments plus a no -treatment check for 
both the shallow and deep-plowed blocks. Treatments were as follows: (l) no- 
treatment, (2) petro S~ 18 .5 lbs. ^er acre, (3) 21.5 toris P er acre manure, (ii) 

2/ 
30 gal. per acre liquid AFS , (5) 3 tons gypsum per acre, (6) this plot was 

left unharvested in 1965 because there was no-treatment on it, (7) 21.5 tons 
straw per acre, (8) 21.5 tons manure per acre plus 18 .5 lbs. per acre of Petro 
S. All treatments were applied on the surface and disked into the soil before 

planting. 

Forty by thirty-six feet plots were planted to Grecnleaf sudangrass on 
July 10, 19^5 at the rate of 20 lbs. per acre with a standard wheat drill. 
Planting could not be accomplished sooner because of the wetness of the "slick - 



-^Registered trademark of Petrochemicals Company, Inc. 
-Allied Chemical company's Liquid Ammonium Polysulfide 



EXPLANATION OF PLATE I 



Two views of the deep-plowing operation. The deep-plowed block was 
plowed to a depth of 2J4. inches in the early spring of 19^5. 



2U 





spot" soil caused by heavy rains in oo.rly Juno. The area was ox!;r .■ 

drying out duo to the dispersed soil condition. No fertilizer was ad in 

19q3. 

Stand density, plant height, color 3 and visible physical conditions of b 
soil were observed, and arc reported in Figure 1| and in Table 5» - ne crop was 
harvosted at the end of the growing season and forage yields and protein 
contents determined 

Treatments were not replicated (there were three sub sample 3 taken so table 
values are the average of the 3 subsamples), thus usual statistical analyses 
were not applicable. Estimates of the significance of plowing depths and chem- 
ical treatments were made by combining the data for the two areas and the depth 
and the treatment effects tested against the depth x treatment interaction. 

i960 Field Experiment 

This test was established on the 1965 sudangrass plots. The sudangrass 
was shredded with a rotary stalk chopper and disked to establish an acceptable 
seedbed. Ottawa wheat was planted on October 15, 19&5 a t the rate of l-.r 
bushels per acre immediately following sudangrass harvest. All plots except 
the check (no -treatment plot) received the following fertilizer. Phosphorus 
was applied with the seed by means of a standard wheat drill at 5° lbs. of 
phosphorus as 10> superphosphate per acre. Nitrogen was top-dressed in the 
spring at 25 lbs. of N per acre as ammonium nitrate. 

Plots were the same as those of the year before except that plot 6 had the 
above amount of fertilizer without any ameliorative treatment. The no-treatment 
plot received neither an ameliorative treatment nor fertilizer. A check of the 
benefit of fertilizer alone could be made, therefore, by comparison of the 
fertilizer (plot 6) treatment to the no-treatment plot. Wheat yields, test 






b, and protein content wero determined in 1966 on the wheat rr^in. 

Laboratory Investigations 

Soil samples wero collectod in the summer of I966 (after wheat harvest) 
and the following laboratory determinations were made: (l) saturation percent, 
(2) pH, (3) cation exchange capacity, (I4) soluble cations, (5) soluble anions, 
(6) exchangeable cations, (7) free lime, and (8) electrical conductivity. 
These were made to gain information about the chemical and physical properties 
of the "slick-spot" soil to use as a basis for its diagnosis, treatment, and 
management in futare years. 

"he saturated-soil paste was prepared by adding distilled water to the 
soil sample while stirring with a spatula. At saturation, the soil paste 
glistened as it reflected light, flowed slightly when the container was tipped, 
and slid from a wet spatula. From the saturated paste most of the above 
mentioned determinations wore made. Details of these laboratory determinations 
follow. 

(1) The saturation percentage was determined by placing a small amount of 
the saturated-soil paste into a tared soil -moisture can and then weighed. 
After drying at 105°C, it was reweighed to a constant weight. Saturation 
percentage =(loss in weight on drying) x 100/ (weight of the oven-dry soil). 

(2) The pK readings were made on the saturated-soil paste, after one hour, 
with a Fisher Accumet Model 210 regular electrode pH meter. 

(3) The cation-exchange capacity was determined from a l^-gram sample. The 
sample was placed in a 50 ml. plastic centrifuge tube with 33 ml. °£ 1 H 
sodium-acetate solution, stoppered and shaken for 5 minutes. Next the sample 
was centrifuged at a (Relative Centrifugal Force) SCF ~ 1000 until the super- 
natant liquid was clear. Then the supernatant liquid was decanted and 



27 



discarded. This procedure was ropeated 3 additional times. The ire 

was carried out with 95$ ethanol for a total of three times or until ; me- 
trical conductivity of the supernatant liquid from the last washing was less 
than hO micromhos per cm. The adsorbed sodium was replaced from the sample by 
extraction with three-33 ml. portions of ammonium acetate and the sodium con- 
centration of the combined extracts was determined after being- brought to a 
volume of 100 ml. 

Cation -exchange capacity in milliequivalents per 100 grams — (sodium con- 
centration of extract in mi 11 i equivalents per liter x 10 )/ (weight of sample in 
grams ) . 

(L) A saturation extract was prepared by transferring the saturated soil 
paste to Buechner-filter funnels and applying vacuum. The extract was collected 
in a test tube for analysis of cations and anions. 

Calcium and magnesium were analyzed by diluting the saturation extract 1 
to 10 for calcium, and 1 to 20 for magnesium, and determining the amount on the 
Perkin-Elmer Model-303 Atomic Absorption Instrument. Sodium and potassium were 
analyzed on the Perkin-Elmer Flame Photometer Model 52A. 

Soluble cations in milliequivalents/lOO grams — (cation concentration of 
saturation extract in mi Hie qui vale nt/l .) x (saturation percent age/1000) . 

(5) Carbonate and bicarbonate anions were determined by titration with 
acid. A small amount of the above mentioned saturation extract was pipetted 
into a small porcelain crucible. One drop of phenolphthalein was added and if 
the solution turned pink, sulfuric acid was added dropwise from a 10 ml. 
microburet at 5- sec °nd intervals until the pink color just disappeared. This 
was designated reading (b). Two drops of methyl-orange indicator were added 
and the extract was titrated to the first orange color. This reading was 
designated as (a). 



Millie quivalents per liter of CO-^ = (2b x normality o U x 1000)/ (ml. 

in aliquot). Millicquivalonts por liter of HCOt, — (a-2b) x 
x 1000)/ (ml. in aliquot). 

The above sample also was used for the chloride determination. ?oar d.ro~",r: 
of 5~P e **cent potassium chromate were added and then titrated with silvor 
nitrate to the first permanent reddish-brown color. The titration-blar.k cor- 
rection was 0.03. 

:.:il lie quivalents per liter of CI. = (ml. of AgUOj - ml. of AgTOj for 
blank) x 0.005 x 1000/ (ml. in aliquot). 

Sulfate was determined by pipetting a 20-ml. quantity of saturation 
extract into a 50-ml. conical centrifuge tube. Then 1 ml. of calcium chloride 
and 20 ml. of acetone were added, mixed and left for a few minutes to flocculate 
and -orecipitate . Next the samples were centrifuged at BCF ~ 1000 for 3 
minutes, decanted, inverted and drained 5 minutes. Ten ml. of acetone were 
blown from a pipet to wash down the walls, then the centrifuge steps were 
repeated. After this, I4O ml. of water were added and shook to dissolve 
precipitate and the conductivity was measured with a standard Vihe at stone - 
Conductivity Bridge. The concentration of CaSO^ in the solution was determined 
by reference to a graph showing the relationship between the concentration and 
the electrical conductivity of the CaSOr solution. Mi Hi equivalents per liter 
of S0i = (meq. per liter of CaSO]^ from electrical conductivity reading and 
graph) x (ml. in aliquot/ml. of water used to dissolve precipitate). 

(6) Exchangeable cations were determined by first obtaining the ammonium- 
acetate extractable cations. Samples of soil were added to a centrifuge tube 
for the ammonium-acetate extractable cations. Then 33 m l • °- ammonium acetate 
were added, shook for 5 minutes, and centrifuged for approximately 5 minutes at 
RCF = 1000. The clear liquid was poured into a beaker, then extracted the same 



29 



2 more times. Tho sample was diluted to a volumo of L0( ,, rredj B 

oaleium and magnesium determined on tho Perkin-Elmer Model-303 Atomic Ab 
unit. Sodium and potassium wore determined en the Perkin- ;er. 

Lonium-acetate extractable cations in milliequivalents per ICO grama ~ 
(cation concentration of extract in milliequivalents per liter x 10)/ (weight 
of sample in grams ) e 

Exchangeable cations in milliequivalents per 100 grams = ( extraotable 
cations in milliequivalents per 100 grams) - (soluble cations in milliequivalents 
per 100 grams). 

(7) Alkaline -earth carbonates were detected by adding 3 normal HC1 dr0p7ri.se 
to a small quantity of soil. A negative sign was recorded for no effervescence. 

(8) Electrical conductivity was determined by the standard Wheatstone 
Bridge. More complete directions may be found in Handbook Number 60 (jh.) . 

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 

19cF> Field Experiment 

Composite soil-test data of the top six inches for the deep-plowed and the 
shallow-plowed blocks indicated little variation in nutrient levels, pH, and 
organic matter as shown in Table 1. Marked differences in conductivity, pPI, 
total cations, and sodium percentage between the "slick-spot" and normal soil 
in adjacent areas are shown in Tables 1, 2, 3» 11, 12, and Figure J. Rainfall 
was above average for the year as reported in Table Lj.. Greater differences 
among treatments in this experiment might have shown up had rainfall been more 
limiting since "slick-spot" soils are usually drouthy. Also, with less rainfall, 
greater differences between the shallow-plowed and the deep-plowed plots may 
have shown up due to the latter* s greater root-penetrating depth and greater 



) ' 



Table 1. Composite fertility-Hies bop six in 

jacont >il. (. ;od by t] 



..... .... .: « .. .. 1- 


. .. ,. .1 . -.*..., .. _ 














■ xnic 




re quire - 


kvt 


able 


Location 


;er 


pH 


: 


phosphorus 










- S 


lbs/acre 


lbs/a . 


Shall ow-pl owe d 


1.6 


7.5 


- 


22 


3iil* 


Deep-plowed 


1.1* 


7.7 


- 


19 


316 


Normal soil 


2.1 


5.8 


5000-6000 


11 


501 






Tabic 2. Water-soluble calcium, sodium, potassium, an< -" "'■"•' ■'- 

spot" and adjacent normal soil in milliequivalents per liter. 
(Average of all plots ).V 



Soil 



bh (Inches) 

0-6 12-12 



1/ 

"For more complete details see Table 12. 
2/ 

[formal soil analyzed in 1935 "by &&■> (reference 1). 



_7' 



Total Soluble Salts 

me'q/l me'q/l" * .-r.oq/l 

2/ 
Normal Soil 20.5 17.6 20.7 

"Slick-Snot" soil jU.8 33.5 53.9 



52 



Table 3, Average exchangeable -cation percentages and pH values, from all 
plots, of "slick-spot" soil.!/ 

Depth (inches) 



Cation 0-c " " "~i2-T5~ 

Percent 



Calcium U0.5 57.7 36.8 

;nesium 29.O 31.5 J2.2 

Potassium J4..6 J.J 2.7 

Sodium 18.0 17.9 17.3 

pH Values 3.0 3. 5 8.1+ 

1/ 

For more complete analysis see Table 11. 



Norma I Sol 5 



- "Slick-Spot" Sot! 



33 





12 


B 


18 




24 


C 


30 




36 


horizon 


Depth, 




Inches 




. *N. 



■ ' » ' 



\ 
\ 
\ 

\ 

J. ^ 



,8 16 2.4 3.2 4.0 4.8 5.6 6.4 7.2 8.0 8.8 9.6 10.4 11.2 12.0 
Soluble Na Ions, meq./'L. 



Fig. 3. Average distribution of soluble sodium in "slick- spot" evd 
adjacent normal soil profiles. 



% 



Table I4. Monthly precipitation, Manhattan, /.^ronorry Far.^, Manhattan, 
IQ65 and' i960'. 



Month 



Jan. Feb. March April May Juno July August Sent. Oct. Y.o-r, >jc. 

I969 

1.92 1.51 2.06 1.I4B 1.93 11.27 3.66 2.95 8.I48 1.11 .23 2.17 

Yearly Total = 5S.22 inches 

Growing Season Total (April-Sept.) = 29.77 inches 

I966 
.1:0 .70 .0J4 1.05 1.65 1.62 2. Id 
Yearly Total (Jan. -June) = 6.21} inches 
Growing Season Total (Planting to Harvest) ~9.12 inches 



7r 



moisture -storage capacity as shown by ease of penetration of the soil probe. 

Figure h illustrates the differences that were found in the height of the 
sudangrass 55 days aftor planting. Sudangrasa in the shallow-plowed block grew 

more rapidly and to a greater height than did the sudangrass in the deep-plc 
"block. This was attributed in part to the poor physical condition and lower 
nutrient availability of the soil turned up to the surface by the deep-plowing. 
Seedling germination was hampered by tho crusted surface, causing loss dense 
stands in the deep-plowed block. Also, the deep-plowed block was waterlogged 
which cut down aerobic bactorial decomposition of organic materials and 
subsequent release of nutrients. 

The sudangrass was darker green, and grew faster and more uniformly on 
the gypsum-and straw-treated plots of both blocks as shown in Figure I4, and 
Table 5. The surface of the gypsum and straw plots of both blocks remained 
moist and crust free for a much longer period following precipitation than for 
the other treatments, as shewn in Table 5 a^d illustrated in Plate II. In 19^5 
a year of excessive rainfall there was much less runoff and erosion from the 
gypsum and straw plots. Estimated erosion values are given in Table 5» Deep- 
plowing apoeared to bury weed seeds, for considerably fewer weedy annual forbes 
and grasses occurred in the deep-plowed plots than in the shallow-plowed plots. 
Vigor and stand differences between the sudangrass grown on the gypsum and no- 
treatment plots of the shallow-plowed block are also illustrated in Plate II, 
and reported in Table 5 • 

Sudangrass-forage yields are given in Table 6 and in Figure 5 as percent 
of no-treatment. Yields were increased by all treatments except Liquid 

.-.ionium Polysulfide. The treatments, manure plus Petro S and strav. r produced 
yield increases of more than a ton in the deep-plowed block. In the shallow- 
plowed block the above mentioned plots plus manure and gypsum also gave 



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EXPLANATION OF PLATE II 

A comparison of the no-treatment plot (above) and the gypsum plot 
(below) of the shallow-plowed block, on August 5, 19&?. Note the white 
dispersed surface of the no-treatment plot and the moist surface soil 
and dense stand of the gypsum-treated plot. 






39 





;..o 



Table 6. Sudangrass yields on "slick-spot" soil a- influoncoi 
conditioner treatments . 



Treatment 



Petro S 

No -Treatment 
Manure 
Liquid APS 
Gypsum 
Straw 

Manure + Petro S 
Lie an 



Plowed at '/'-' i . d" 



Yiold lbs/j :■ 

ed at 27'-' ' . 



3,100 
2,760 

3,520 



3,11.0 



3,580 
U,270 

3,5^0 
3,10.6 



l,8i|D 

1,510 
2,61i0 
1,130 
2,520 
3,620 
5,950 
2,U59 



2,1*70 
2,135 

2,135 
5*050 

3,9i£ 
3,745" 



1/ 
1/ 



^Calculated at 20$ moisture content. 
LSD 05, Chemical Treatment = li;77 
LSD] 05 , Depth «=NS 

Significant at the .05 level . 






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substantial yield increases. However, only the treatments straw and manure 
plus Petro S were significantly bettor than the no-treatment plot at the 
5-percent levol. The highest yiold was over 2 tons of 20-percent moisture 
forage per aero for the straw treatment in the shallow-plowed block. The above 
yield data was the result of only one cutting taken in early October. Two 
cuttings probably could have been made had the sudangrass been planted by the 

first of Juno. 

Yields as influenced by the two plowing depths are reported in Table 6, 
also. Except for the manure plus Potro S treatment the deep-plowed plots 
yielded less than the shallow-plowed plots. In the manure plus Petro S plot 
deep-plowing increased the yield by 11.6 percent, however, the average decrease 
was 29.7 percent for the deep-plowed block. As mentioned previously, this 
decrease was attributed to the poor seedbed of the exposed B horizon. Tillage 
depths were confounded because plowed plots were located in one area and the 
shallow-plowed plots in another. It could not be determined therefore whether 
differences were due to plowing or location. 

Table 6, also, presents information on interaction among soil-conditioner 
treatments and plowing depths. Interaction differences could not be tested 
validly for significance either; although there are large differences. 

Data on protein contents of sudangrass forage are given in Table 7. Deep- 
plowing appeared to increase protein content of sudangrass forage. This may 
have boen due to the lower yields of the deep-plowed block, with the one 
exception of the straw plot where protein was lower than in the shallovr-plowed 
block. The no -treatment plot in the shallow-plowed block was extremely low in 
protein. The reason for this is not known. 



Table 7. Percentage of protein in suck • is forage from "slick- 11 an 

affectod by soil -conditioner treatment and tillage 



Chemical Troatmor.t 



Potro S 
Wo -treatment 
Manure 
Liquid APS 
Gypsum 
Straw 

Manure + Petro S 
Mean 



Deep pi 



:f)cha v u.r-al Tr« 

Norma] pTowed 



8.2 

8.0 
9.7 



9.8 



7.1* 

7.0 

10.5 

8.6 



LSD qc, chemical treatment = NS 
LSD]q 5 , depth NS 



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7.8 
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9.7 
8.3 



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1966 Field Experiment 

The only change in the ex] . .-'. Lgn in I966 fro ; of I965 ..- is 
the addition of a fertilizer-only treatment, so that influence of 50 • of 
phosphorus and 2? pounds of ¥, could be compared. No soil-oonditioner snts 
were added to the respective plots in 19&6, so that carryover effects could he 
compared. 

Wheat-grain yield information is reported in Table 3 and Figure 6. Table 
I4. shows i960 was a drier year and so greater yield differences were noted among 
treatments in the shallow-plowed plots. 

The greatest percentage increase was shown with the gypsum treatment. In 
1965 Sudangrass yields were increased 30 percent over the no-treatment plot, 
whereas wheat-grain yields were increased 221+ percent in I966 with the gypsum 
treatment. For other comparisons see Figures 5 and 6. All soil -conditioner 
treatments increased wheat-grain yields on the shallow -plowed plots. However, 
Petro 5, manure, and Liquid Ammonium Polysulfide decreased yields in the deep- 
plowed plots. There were no obvious explanations for this, but many factors 
could contribute to the decrease. Plots were chosen at random, however the 
three plots that decreased yields mentioned above were observed to have less 
favorable soil-physical conditions at the beginning of the test than most of 
the other plots (Table 5). Table 5 showed that a slight improvement was made 
in physical conditions of the soil in most plots over the two-year period. 
Although the Petro S, manure, and Liquid Ammonium Polysulfide plots gave lower 
yields than the no-treatment plot, these yields were higher than the yields for 
corresponding shallow-plowed plots, a sharp contrast from the previous year's 
data. 

Yields were quite uniform in the deep-plowed block with wheat yields on 






Tablo 8. Wheat-grain yields on "slick-spot" soil aa influenced by ^oil- 
conditioner treatments. 



Yield Bur. ./Aero* 



♦Calculated at 12 5 c 'o moisture. 

LSD # o5> Depth = NS 

LSd'ac, Chemical treatment = 1+.16 

1/ 

— Significant at the .05 level 



Treatment Plcrod at 7-in . do "b'h pYo v.'-vi :':, 2J. -::n. 'ioohh ■■_ 

Petro S 10.11 11.70 10.92 

No-treatment 5.58 13.00 9. 29 

Manure 8.29 11.77 10.03 

Liquid APS 7.5U 10.U S ° S 3 

Gypsun 18.10 17.20 17. c^ 

1/ 

Fertilizer Only 11.76 15.81+ 13 .80- 

Straw 12.97 15.68 lU.33=-' 

Manure + Petro S 15 .08 13.36 lluU7- 

Mean 11.18 13. 58 






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fcho gypsum-treatod plot slightly the best. Wheat on the gypsum dot 

more rapidly and grew faster all through the season as shown in Plate III. 

Some sizable yiold increases occurred with different treatments in the 
shallow-plowed "block, the greatest being the gypsum treatment with a 22k percent 
yield increase over the no-treatment yield. The gypsum plot yielded 13.1 
bushels per acre, which was only about 1 bushel below the normal-soil yields on 
the Kansas State University Agronomy Farm for i960. Also, wheat was planted 
immediately after disking in the sudangrass, so top yields could not be 
expected. 

At the 5-percent level the following treatments significantly increased 
yields over the check: gypsum, fertilizer-only, straw, and manure plus Petro S. 
The gypsum treatment gave higher wheat yields than other treatments . 

Interaction of plowing depths and soil-conditioner treatments on wheat- 
grain yields are also presented in Table 8. 

The effects of plowing depths on wheat-grain yields are reported in Table 
8, also. All treatments except gypsum, and manure plus Petro S increased 
yields in the deep-plowed block in comparison to the yields obtained from their 
shallow-plowed counterparts. The 33 .I4. percent average increase for all 
treatments in the deep-plowed block over the shallow-plowed block was in sharp 
contrast to the 1965 results which averaged 29.7 percent decrease. As this was 
the second crop to be grown, the physical condition of the deep-plowed soil was 
improved and better stands were obtained. The year i960 was drier than 19 65, 
making moisture more limiting to crop growth and giving a corresponding 
advantage to the deep-rooting zone of the deep-plowed plots. Difference in 
rooting-zone depths of the shallow-plowed plots was readily demonstrated by 
probing with a truck-mounted soil probe The probe penetrated past three feet 
in the deep-plowed plots, but only to a depth of about two feet in the 



EXPLANATION OF PLATE III 



A comparison of wheat growing on a no-treatment plot (above) and a 
gypsum -treated plot ("below) of the deep-plowed block on March 15, 19&6. 
Note the differences in stand and stage of growth. 



to 





50 



shallow-plowod block. 

The no-treatment plot in the doop-plowod block increased wheat yields 133 
percent over the corresponding plot in the shallow-plowed block. This indicates 
that deep-plowing alone increased wheat-grain yields. However, duo to the 
layout of the experiment no valid significance could bo placed on the differ- 
ences observed from the different plowing depths. Explanation of the experi- 
mental layout is explained in the discussion of the experimental procedure. 
The i960 wheat yields indicated that substantial yield increases can be 
obtained vrhen some soil-conditioner treatments are applied in combination with 
deep-plowing. Fertilizer-only increased yields, however, gypsum, straw, 
and manure plus Petro S increased yields even more. 

Wheat test-weight data are included in Table 9. Test weights averaged 
about 60 pounds per bushel. "Wheat from the shallow-plowed block had a higher 
test weight than wheat from the deep-plowed block. 

Wheat-grain protein data are presented in Table 10. Percent protein was 
average to high in all cases. In the shallow-plowed block all treatments 
except gypsum produced wheat with higher protein content than the no-treatment 

plot* 

In the deep-plowed block all treatments produced wheat with higher protein 

content than the no-treatment plot. 



Laboratory Investigations 






Laboratory analyses were made on the soils to characterize chemical 
properties and to classify the soil. 

In the deep-plowed plots the saturation percentage varied from 39 to 6I4 
percent, whereas the shallow-plowed plots varied from 39 to 65 percent as shown 
in Table 11. The saturation percentage went up with depth, and generally was 



51 



Table 9. Whoat tost weights on "slick-spot" soil. 



Treatment Shallow-plowed 



Petro S 59.5 

No -treatment 6l.O 

Manure 59. U 

Liquid APsl' 59.7 

Gypsum 6l .5 

Fertilizer-Only 59.9 

Straw 59 .7 

Manure + Petro S 6l.2 



LSD qc, Chemical Treatment ■ NS 
LSD* n ?» Depth = NS 

1/ ' * 

Liquid Ammonium Polysulfide 



Doep-plowed 


Avora-30 


58.2 


58.8 


59.7 


60 .L 


57.5 


53.U 


59.0 


59 .U 


59.9 


60.7 


59 .U 


59.6 


59 .h 


59.6 


58.6 


59.9 



52 



Table 10. Percent protein of wheat grain from "slick-spot" soil 



Treatment 


Shal low- pi owe d 


Deep-plowed 


Ave rage 


Potro S 


1U.6 


16.5 


15.8 


No-treatment 


1U.6 


11+.6 


1U.6 


Manure 


17.2 


18.0 


17.6 


Liquid APS 


15.1 


17.3 


16.2 


Gypsum 


1U.U 


15 .U 


1U.9 


Fertilizer-Only 


17.7 


16.0 


16.8 


Straw 


17.7 


16.0 


16.8 


Manure + Petro S 


15.7 


17.6 


16.6 



LSD qc, Chemical Treatment = US 
LSD [o5» ^P* 11 = SS 



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higher for tho shallow-plowed plots. Average values were $1 percent Hot the 

deep-plowod and 5U percent for the shallow-plowed block. 

Values for pH ranged from 7.L< to 8.5 in the deep-plowed block and from 7.2 
to 8.1; for the shallow-plowed block as reported in Table 11. The pH increased 
with depth in both blocks. In the shallow-plowed block all surface samples 
tested below 8.0, however in the deep-plowed block all plots tested above 8.0 
except plots 1, 6, and 8. 

The cation -exchange capacity ranged from 27.5 to 3>G 5 milliequivalents per 
100 grams, and generally increased with depth. The average cation-exchange 
capacity f or t he deep-plowed and shallow-plowed blocks was 32.8 and J2.7, 
respectively, also reported in Table 11. 

Alkaline -earth carbonates (free lime) were present in all 2l+ to JO-inch 
depth samples and all the 12 to 18-inch depth samples but the gypsum-treated 
plot in the shallow-plowed block. Free lime was also found in the to 6-inch 
depth samples for plots 2, 3, J4, 5, and 7 (Table ll). 

All plots in the deep-plowed except the 3 depths for the gypsum plot had 
15 percent or more exchangeable sodium. The range for the deep-plowed block 
was k.O to 22.0 percent. The range in the s hallow-plowed block was 12.2 to 21.8 
percent. In the shallow-plowed block only the surface soil of the Petrc S and 
the first two depths of the manure plus Petro S treated plots contained less 
than 15.0 percent exchangeable sodium. All exchangeable cation data are also 
reported in Table 11 „ 

The highest average sodium percent was found in plot 2 (no-treatment) for 
the deep-plowed block and in plot L< (Liquid Ammonium Polysulfate) for the 
shallow-plowed block. Sodium percent normally increased with depth in the 
shallow-Dlowed block but showed no such relationship in the deep-plowed block, 
due to mixing of the soil in the deep-plowing process. 



56 



There was, in general, an inverse relationship between sodium and 
amounts. As sodium increased potassium decreased. Potassium ranged from 1.0 

percent for the shallow-plowed fertilizer-only (treatment 6) plot at the 12 to 
18-inch depth, to a high of 6„2 percent for the deep-plowed manure (treatment 3) 
plot at the to 6-inch depth. 

The exchangeable cations, calcium and magnesium, made up from 2/3 to 3/U 
of the oation percentages. Calcium ranged from 33*0 to UU.9 percent in trie 
shallow-plowed block. In the deep-plowed block tho range was 30 »0 to ^9.0 
percent. Magnesium varied from 22.0 to 3U.5 percent in the deep-plowed block, 
and from 29.0 to 37.0 percent in the shallow-plowed block, as shown in Table 11. 

The gypsum-treated plot (treatment 5) was considerably higher in calcium 
than any other plot in the deep-plowod block, whereas in the shallow-plowed block 
all treatments were similar in calcium content. This was attributed to sodium 
replacement by calcium with subsequent deeper leaching of sodium in the deep- 
plowed block. 

Table 12 contains the saturation-extract determinations. The electrical 
conductivity ranged from l.lo to 2.65 millimhos per centimeter, considerably 
below I4..0, the minimum for a saline soil. In most cases the surface layer of 
the deep-plowed soil was higher in electrical conductivity. This probably was 
due to the placement on the surface of the high-base subsoil. 

The soluble cations (calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium) and anions 
(carbonates, bicarbonates, sulfates, and chlorides) are also reported in Table 
12. Soluble calcium varied from 0„3 milliequivalents per liter for the 2ii to 
30-inch depth of the Liquid Ammonium Polysulfide-treated plot to 7.9 milli- 
equivalents per liter for surface soil in the manure plus Petro S-treated plot 
of the deep-plowed block. In the deep-plowed block the Liquid Ammonium 
Polysulfide plot averaged 1.2 milliequivalents per liter throughout the profile 



57 



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r-i 


OJ 


KN 


-3 


UN 


NO 


r— 


CO 


w 


a 




p & 




















^Eh 


£-1 




EH 


P 



















p 

•H 

O 
KN 

O 

P 



OJ 

li 

KN 

• 

P 
•H 

CO 
rH 

O 
P 

OJ 
pH 

I". 
OJ 



P 

o 
p 



*>l 



p 
p< 
o 

Q 



59 



whereaa plot 5 (gypsum) avoragod 6.5 millioquivalonts per litor. 

Soluble magnesium averaged slightly lower than calcium ranging from 1.1J 
to 3.86 millioquivalents per litor on the deep-plowed and shall ow-plowed blocks 
respectively. Magnesium varied less between plots and depths than calcium. 

Soluble sodium varied from 5»55 milliequivalents per liter on the deep- 
plowed gypsum plot at the to 6-inch depth to a high of 17.00 milliequivalents 
per liter for the Liquid Ammonium Polysulfide plot at the 2l+ to 30-inch depth 
of the shall ow-plowed block. In the shallow-plowed block sodium tended to 
increase with depth. In the deep-plowed block, however, sodium was highest in 
the surface soil, due to the turned up subsoil. Sodium was lower in the surface 
soil of the gypsum and polysulfide plots, which was attributed to exchange of 
sodium by calcium caused by those amendments. 

Soluble potassium was usually highest in the surface soil, averaging 
around 1.0 milliequivalent per liter. For all depths potassium ranged from .26 
to 2.06 millioquivalents per litor with a mean of 0.72 milliequivalents per 
liter, also reported in Table 12. 

No carbonates occurred, as confirmed by the low pH and bicarbonate content. 
Bicarbonates ranged from 1„L; milliequivalents per litor in the shallow-plowed 
surface soil of the manure plus Petro-S plot, to 7.5 milliequivalents per liter 
for the 12 to 18-inch depth in the deep-plowed Petro S plot. There were less 
bicarbonates in the shallow-plots than the deep-plowed plots. In general, 
bicarbonates increased with depth (Table 12). 

Sulfate content values, in general were lower than bicarbonates. Sulfates 
were lower in the surface layers in the shallow-plowed block, with one exception, 
The highest sulfate value was 7.9 milliequivalents per liter on the deep-plowed 
gypsum plot at a depth of 12 to 18-inches. The lowest reading was 0.8 milli- 
equivalent per liter for the Petro S plot, surface soil, in the shallow-plowed 



to 



block, reported in Table 12. 

The chloride anion averaged around 9 milliequivalents per liter for the 

deep-plowed plots, whereas the shallow-plowed plots averaged over 10. 

Chlorides ranged from 6 to lU milliequivalents in the deep-plowed block and 8 

to li; in the shallow-plowed block as shown in Table 12. 

The plots also contained soils having morphological or structural differ- 
ences from normal soil and from plot to plot. In general, the soils are 
dispersed and have either characteristic prismatic or columnar B horizons. 
This striking structural profile is most common in the "Solonetz" soil. The pH 
indicates that leaching has caused solodization, forming the intergrade soil, 
solodized-Solonetz (55). The soils of this study have the well-developed 
structural and textural profiles and the leached A horizon of the Soloth and 
the nonacid columner B horizon of the Solonetz. 

The soils of the experimental plots are probably Typic Natrustolls in the 
new comprehensive system of soil-classification. They are not quite wet enough 
to be classified as Katraquolls. They also resemble a ruptic intergrade with 
the Natralbolls. 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 

A field study was conducted in 19^5 and I966 to determine the effects of 
several organic and chemical soil-conditioning treatments and two tillage 
depths upon crop yields on an alkali-affected soil. In evaluating the results 
of the organic and chemical materials in this study, it must be kept in mind 
that these data are drawn from an experiment on a soil with extremely poor 
physical conditions. Lot; crop yields have characterized these "slick-spots" 

prior to this experiment. 

Soil treatments included: no-treatment, 18.5 lbs/acre of Petro S, 21.5 



61 



tons/acre of gypsum, 21.5 tons/acre of straw, and a combination of 21.5 
tons/acre of manure plus 18.5 lbs/acre of Petro S. In the 1966 experiment a 
fertilizer treatment of 50 pounds of phosphorus and 25 pounds of 8 was added so 
the benefit, if any, from fertilizer could bo determined,, 

In I965 all soil-conditioner treatments except liquid ammonium polysulfide 
increased sudangrass yields. However, only straw and manure plus Petro S 
significantly increased yields over the check. The highest yield was ovor 2 
tons of 20-percent moisture forage per acre for the straw treatment in the 
shallow-plowed (normal 7-inch depth) block. In 19 65, a relatively wet year, 
the (conventionally) shallow-plowed plots outyielded the deep-plowed plots. 
The highest yield from the deep-plowed block was from the manure plus Petro 3 
plots. 

In I966 all treatments increased wheat-grain yields in the shallow-plowed 
block. Petro S, manure and liquid ammonium polysulfide decreased yields on the 
deep-plowed plots. Gypsum and Manure plus Petro S gave the highest yields in 
the shallow-plowed block and gypsum and the fertilizer treatment in the deep- 
plowed block. It is worth noting that the gypsum-plot yield of 18.1 bushels 
per acre was only about 1 bushel below the wheat yield of the nearby normal 
soil. 

In I966, a sharp contrast to 1965, yields in the deep-plowed block aver- 
aged 33.U percent above the shallow-plowed block. However, gypsum and manure 
plus Petro S had slight decreases with deep-plowing. The wheat yields of the 
no-treatment plot in the deep-plowed block were 133 percent higher than the 
corresponding plot of the shallow-plowed block. 

The saturation percent of these problem soils increased with depth and 
generally was higher for the shallow -pi owed plots. The pH value increased with 
depth in both blocks. In the shallow-plowed block all surface samples had a pH 



£2 



"below 8 o 0; howevor, in the deep-plowod blook all but three surface samples 
tested above 8.0 due to the turning up of subsurface soil. 

The cation exchange capacity generally increased with depth. Free lime 
occurred in most subsurface samples and some surface samples. 

The most significant finding was that all soils had 15 percent or greater 
exchangeable sodium except the gypsum plot. It was impossible to tell for 
certain whether the soil in the gypsum plot was lower in sodium due to the 
gypsum treatment or whether it was lower at the beginning of the test, since 
soil samples were taken after the treatments had been applied for a year 
However, total base cations are lower and calcium does not make up a greater 
proportion of the cations in the gypsum-treated plot in comparison to all the 
other treatments, this would indicate that the gypsum plot was probably already 
somewhat lower than some of the other plots. 

Potassium was low in all samples. The exchangeable cations, calcium and 
magnesium, made up from 2/3 to 3/I4 of the cation percentages. Calcium was 
generally slightly higher than magnesium. Calcium and magnesium values went 
up as sodium and potassium went down. 

Electrical conductivity was well below U.O millimhos per centimeter in all 
samples, making the soil non-saline. The lack of obvious soluble salts and the 
dispersed field condition confirms this analysis. 

The soluble cations and anions varied in amount. Soluble magnesium 
averaged slightly lower than calcium, 2.2 to 3.6 respectively. Magnesium 
varied less with depth and from plot to plot than calcium. 

Sodium tended to increase with depth in the shallow-plowed block. Deep- 
plowing, howevor, caused sodium to be highest in the surface soil. The gypsum- 
and polysulfide-treated plots had lower sodium and higher calcium which was 
attributed to sodium replacement by calcium brought about by those treatments. 



63 






Measurable quantities of carbonatos did not occur. Bicarbonatos ranged 
from 1,1; to 7.5 milliequivalents per liter, and in general increased with 
depth. Sulfate values wore slightly lower than the bicarbonates. Chloride 
made up the largest part of the anions, averaging about 10 milliequivalents per 
liter. 

Classifying these soil samples in terms of their salinity and alkalinity 
was somewhat difficult due to the variations that occurred. However, most of 
the soil samples taken were in a transition or degraded stage of a nonsaline- 
alkali soil. 

Forty two of the classified soil horizons fell in the category of nonsaline 
alkali. The remaining six wore normal according to the United Statos Salinity 
Laboratory chemical classification system (5U). 

Morphologically or genetically speaking, these soils are transitional 
between Solonetz and solodized-Solonetz. 

Based on the results of this study it was concluded that: 

1) Organic treatments, straw and manure, will increase yields on "slick- 
spot" soils, but these materials must be added often and at high rates to 
obtain maximum benefit, 

2) Addition of gypsum gave increased yields, especially in the second year. 

3) Gypsum improved the physical condition and tilth of the surface soil, 
1+) Deep-plowing appeared to increase yields from "slick-spot" soil over 

normal or shallow-plowing after the first year,, 

5) Fertilizer alone gave good results in 1966 on "slick-spot" soils that 
had been deep-plowed 

6) The "slick-spot" soils in question fit the category of nonsaline- 
alkali soil more closely than any other. 

7) These are solodized-Solonetz soils, according to the early United 



a* 



States system of classification. 

8) These soils are Typic Natrustolls under the present system of 
classification. 



b 






ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

Tho author wishes to express his appreciation to Dr. 0. W, Bi dwell for his 
guidance and assistance as major professor. 

Appreciation is expressed to Dr.'s Stanley YIearden, Hyde Jacobs, Roscoe 
Ellis Jr., and Richard Vandorlip for their cooperation and advice in the 
experimental results and tho writing of the manuscript 

Thanks are also due to Allied Chemical Company and Petro-chemicals Company, 
for supplying part of the matorials used in this study. 

Special acknowledgment is given the author's wife for her assistance in 
typing the thesis. 



66 



LITERATURE CITED 



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The comparativo physical and chemical properties of an alkali spot and 
an adjoining normal soil. Kansas State Collego Master's Thesis. 

2. Allison, L. E., 1952„ 

Effect of synthetic polyolectrolytes on the structure of saline and 
alkali soils. Soil Sci. 73 : W+3"U5U. 

3. Antipov-Karatayev, I. N., and Pak, K. P., 19 65. 

Melioration of solonetzes under irrigated and dry-land conditions. 
Pochvovodonio 10:1127-113)1. 

1). Arshad, M. A., and Pawluk, S., 1966. 

Charaotoristics of some solonetzic soils in the glacial Lake Edmonton 
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5. Baver, L. D., 19 63. 

Soil Physics. New York. John Wiley and sons. Ed. 3« 

6. Benz, L. C., Sandoval, F. M., Mickolson, R. H., and George, E. J., 196)1. 

Microrelief influences in a saline area of ancient glacial Lake Agassiz: 
II. On shallow ground water. Soil Sci. Soc . Amer. Proc. 28:567-570. 

7. Bower, C. A., and Fireman, M., 1957. 

Saline and alkali soils In: Soil. Yearbook Agr. (U.S.D.A.) U.S. 
Government Printing Office, Washington, p. 282-290. 

8. Bower, C. A., Swarner, L. R., Marsh, A. W., and Tileston, F. M., Dec. 1951 • 

The improvement of an alkali soil by treatment with manure and chemical 
amendments. Oregon Agr. Exp. Sta. Tech. Bull. 22. 37 pp. 

9. Bower, C. A., and Turk, L. M., 19 1+6. 

Calcium and magnesium deficiencies in alkali soils. Jour. Amer. Soc. 
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10. Carter, D„ L„ and Fanning, C. D., I96L4.. 

Combining surface mulches and periodic water applications for reclaiming 
saline soils. Soil Sci. Soc. Amer. Proc. 28:5614-567. 

11. Fehrenbacher, J. B., Odell, R. T., Johnson, P. E., and Jones, B. A., Jr., 

Winter 19 66. 

Natric soils in Illinois. Illinois Research. Illinois Agr. Exp. Sta. 

P. 5-7. 

12. Fehrenbacher, J. B., Wilding, L. P., Odell, R. T„ and Melsted, S. W„, 1963. 

Characteristics of solonetzic soils in Illinois. Soil Sci. Soc. Amer. 
Proc. 27(U): 1*21-1+31. 

13. Felber, I. II., 191+U. 

Moisture-conserving effect of methyl cellulose in soil. Amer. Soc. 

Hort. Sci. Proc. 1+5:331-337. 



67 



lit. Fireman, M., 19l4u 

Permoability measurements on disturbed soil samples. Coil Sci . $b: 

537-355. 

15. Fireman, W., and Rodman, G. B., 19U0. 

Effect of saline irrigation water upon permeability. Soil Sci. Soc 6 
Amer. Proc . I4: 71-77. 

16. Fitts, J. W., Lyons, E. S.,and Rhodes, II. F., 19li5. 

Chemical treatments of "slick spots". Soil Sci; Soc. Amer. Proc. 8: 

17. Glinka, K. D., 191I4. (Translation by C. F. Marbut in 1927). 

The groat soil groups of the world and their development. Edwards 
Brothers, Ann Arbor, Miohigan. p. 188-230. 

18. Glinka, K. D., 195L 

Treatise on Soil Science. Ed. U. P. I1.56-512. (Translated from Russian) 

19. Greaves. J. E., 1922. 

Influence of salts on bacterials activities of soil. Bot. Gaz. 75 : 
161 -180. 

20. Harris, F. S., 1920. 

Soil Alkali. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 

21. Hedrick, R. M., and Mowry D. T., 1952. 

Effect of synthetic polyelectrolytes on aggregation, aeration, and water 
relationships of soil. Soil Sci. 73 : l&l-Ub}-, 

22. Hilgard, E. W., 1907. 

Soils, New York: Macmil Ian Company. 

25. Ismail, Hamid Nashat, 1958. 

Soil structure and methods for its improvement. Kansas State College 
Master's Thesis. 

2U. Jenny, Hans, 1961 . 

E. W. Hilgard and the Birth of Modern Soil Science. Pisa, Italia: 
Agrochimica. p. lQ , 

25. Joffe, J. S., 19U9. 

Pedology. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Pedology Publications. Ed. 2. 

26. Joffe, J. S., and McLean, H. C , 1925 . 

Origin of alkali soils; physical effects of treatments. Soil Sci. 18: 
13-30. 

27. Johnsgard, G. A., June, 19&?. 

Salt affected problem soils in North Dakota: Their properties, use 
suitability and management. North Dakota Agr. Exp. Sta. Bui. U53. 



68 



28. Johnston, W. W., and Powers, W. I.., 192lu 

A progress ropor-l; of alkali-land reclamation investigation in eastern 
Orogon. Oregon Agr. Exp. Sta. Bui. 210. 

29. Kelley, W. P., 1951. 

Alkali Coils: Thoir Formation, Properties and Reclamation. •Tew York: 
Roinhold Publishing Corporation. 

30. Kelloy, W. P., and Arany, A., 1928. 

The chemical effect of gypsum, sulfur, iron sulfate and alum, on alkali 
soil. Hilgardia. 3(lU): 393-^2°. 

31. Kelley, W. P., and Brown, S. M„ 1925. 

Base-exchange in relation to alkali soils. Soil Sci. 20:U77-i#5. 

32. Lyon, T. L„ and Buckman, II. 0., 191+9 . 

The Nature and Prooerties of Soils. New York: The McMillan Company. Ed. 
h. p. 311-316. 

33. Magistad, 0. C., I9I4U. 

Saline Soils, Their Nature and Management. U.S.D.A. Cir. No. 707. 

3J4. Norton, E. A„ and Bray, R. H., 1929. 

The soil reaction profile. Jour. Amer. Soo. Agron. 21:83l+-8l4i. 

35. Overstreet, R., Martin, J. C., and King, H. M., 1951. 

Gypsum, sulfur and sulfuric acid for reclaiming an alkali soil of the 
Fresno series. Hilgardia. 21(5): 113-127. 

36. Overstreet, R., Martin, J. C, Schulz, R. K., and McCutcheon, 0. D., 1955. 

Reclamation of an alkali soil of the Hacienda series. Hilgardia. 2l;(3) : 

53-63. 

37. Padhi, U. C, Odell, R. T., Fehrenbacher, J. B., and Seif, R. D., 1965. 

Effect of gypsum and starch on water movement and sodium removal from 
solonetzic°soils in Illinois. Soil Sci. Soc. Amer. Proc. 29(2): 227-229. 

38. Pair, C„ H., and Lewis, C-. C„ I960. 

Chemical and intake -rato changes with various treatments on Sebree- 
Chilcott soil series association (slick spots). Soil Sci. 90(5):306-311. 

39. Quastel, J. H., 1952. 

Influence of organic matter on aeration and structure of soil. Soil Sci. 

73(6): U19-1426. 

J4O. Quirk, J. P., end Schofield, R. K., 1955. 

The effect of electrolyte concentration on soil permeability. Jour. Soil 

Sci c 6:163-178. 

I4I. Reeve, R. C., a.nd Bower, C. A., 19 60. 

Use of high-salt waters as a flocculant and source of divalent cations 
for reclaiming so die soils. Soil Sci. 90:139-ll|lu 



(9 



h£. Reeve, R. C., and Fireman, M., 196?. 

Salt Problems in Relation to Irrigation: Irrigation of Agricultural 
Lands. Agronomy Monograph Series, No. 11. pp. 1003-1007. 

k3, Richards, L. A., Oardnor, W. R., and Ogata, Gon., 195 6. 

Physical procossns determining viator loss from soil. Soil Sci. Goc. 
Amor. Pi-oc. 20(3):310-3lii. 

I4I4— Rinohart, J. C., 195I4. 

Gypsum makes wet spots drain. What's New In Crops & Soils. 6(7):lo-17, 

3U. 

Ll5. Rinehart, J. C., Black, G. R , Tedrow, J. C. F., and Bear, F. E., June 1953. 
Gypsum for improving drainage of wet soils. New Jersey Agr. Exp. Sta. 
Bui. 772. 

1+6. Robinson, G. W., 1932. 

Soils: Their Origin, Constitution, and Classification. London: Thomas 
Murby and Company, p. 256-265. 

hi. Rode, A. A., 1962. 

Soil Science, p. l£l-l]l;0. (Translated from Russian) 

I48. Russel, J. C, 1963. 

General soils for Iraq students. Mimeographed manuscript. Chapter XI. 
pp. 128-162. 

1)9. Sandoval, F. M., Benz, L. C., George, S. J., and Mickelson, R. H., 19 61;. 

Microrelief influences in a saline area of glacial Lake Agassiz: I. On 
salinity and tree growth. Soil Sci. Soc. Amer. Proc . 28:276-280. 

50. Sandoval, F. M., Benz, L. C., and Mickelson, R. K., 19 6U. 

Chemical and physical properties of soils in a wet saline area in 
eastern North Dakota. Soil Sci. Soc. Amer. Proc. 28:195-199. 

51. Snedecor, G. W., 1956. 

Statistical Methods. Ames, Iowa:The Iowa State College Press. Ed. 5. 

52. Soil Survey Staff, U.S.D.A., i960. 

Soil classification, a comprehensive system, 7th Approximation. U.S. 
Govt. Printing Office, Yfashington, D. C. pp. 1+5-U6. 

53. U.S.D.A. (ARS), Dec. I96I+. 

Slick spots. Agricultural Research. U.S. Govt. Printing Office, 
Vfashington, D. C. pp. I+-5. 

5U. U.S. Salinity Laboratory Staff, 195 U. 

Diagnosis and improvement of saline and alkali soils. U.S.D.A. Handbook 

60. 

55. U.S. Soil Survey Staff, 1951 o 

Soil Survey Manual. U.S.D.A. Agricultural Handbook No. 18. pp. J>bX-3h3o 



70 



56. Vorhoovon, B., 1950. 

Soil moisturo studio g in view of salt movement control, ijth Into mat. 
Cong. Soil Sci. Trans. 5:165-169. 

57. Vorhoevon, G., I965. 

Loaching of sodic soils as influenced "by application of gypsum, Proc. 
of the Symposium on Sodic Soils. (Budapest 196)4) pp. 263-267. 

58. Vilensky, D. G., 1930. 

Saline and alkali soils of the Union of Socialist Soviet Ropublics. 
Podology No. i+. p. 32-86. 

59. Whitti G , L. D„, 1959 . 

Characteristics and genesis of a solodized-solonetz of California. Soil 
Sci Soc. Amer. Proc. 23:U69-U73. 

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Source and distribution of sodium in solonetzic soils in illinois. Soil 
Sci. Soc. Amer. Proc. 27( i|) : U32-U38 . 

61. Wurston, J. L., and Powers, W. L., 193U. 

Reclamation of virgin black alkali soils. Jour. Amer. Soc. Agron. 26: 
752-762. 



< 



THE IMPROVEMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF "SLICK SPOT" SOIL 



by 



RONALD LEE IBBETSON 



B. S., Kansas State University, 19&4- 



AN ABSTRACT OF A MASTER'S THESIS 



submitted in partial fulfillment of the 



requirements for the degree 



MASTER OF SCIENCE 



Department of Agronomy 



KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY 
Manhattan, Kansas 

1969 



A fiold study was conducted in 19&? and I966 to determine tho effects of 
sevoral organic and chemical soil-conditioning treatments and two tillage 
depths upon crop yields grown on an alkali-affected (slick-spot) soil. Low 
crop yields have characterized these "slick-spots" prior to this experiment. 
Soil treatments included: no-treatment, 18.5 lbs/acre of Petro S, 21.5 
tons/acre of manuro, 30 gal ./acre of Liquid Ammonium Polysulfide, 8 tons/acre 
of gypsum, 21.5 tons/acre of straw, and a combination of 21.5 tons/acre of 
manure plus 18. 5 lbs. of Petro S per acre. In the I966 experiment a ferti- 
lizer treatment was added so the benefit, if any, from fertilizer could be 
checked. 

In 196? all soil-conditioner treatments except Liquid Ammonium Polysulfide 
increased sudangrass yields. The highest yield was over 2 tons of 20-percent 
moisture forage per acre for the straw treatment in the shallow-plowed (normal 
7-inch depth) block,. In 19 65, a relatively wet year, the conventionally plowed 
plots out-yielded the deep-plowed plots. The highest yield from the deep- 
plowed (2i+-inch depth) block was from the manure plus Petro S plots. 

In I966 all treatments increased wheat-grain yields in the shallow-plowed 
block. Petro S, manure and Liquid Ammonium Polysulfide decreased yields on 
the deep-plowed plots. Gypsum and manure plus Petro S gave the highest yields 
in the shallow-plowed block and gypsum and the fertilizer treatment in the 
deep-plowed block. It was worth noting that the gypsum-plot yield of 18.1 
bushels per acre was only about 1 bushel below the wheat yield of the nearby 
normal soil . 

In 1966, in sharp contrast to 19 65, yields in the deep-plowed block 
averaged 33 ,k percent above the shallow-plowed block. The wheat yields of the 
no-treatment plot in the deep-plowed block were 133 percent higher than the 
corresponding plot of the shallow-plowed block. 



Tho saturation percent of the go problom soils increased with depth and 
gono rally was higher for tho shallow-plowod plots. The pll value incroasod 
with depth in both blocks. In tho shallow-plowed block all surfaco camples 
had a pll below 8.0; however, in tho doop-plowed block all but throe surfaco 
samplos tested abovo 8.0 due to tho turning up of subsurface soil. The cation- 
exchange capacity generally increased with depth. Free lime occurred in most 
subsurface samples and some surface samples. 

The most significant finding was that all soils had 15 percent or greater 
exchangeable sodium except the gypsum plot. Potassium was low in all samples. 
The exchangeable cations, calcium and magnesium, made up from 2/3 to 3/U of 
the cation percentages. Calcium was generally slightly higher than magnesium. 
Caloium and magnesium values went up as sodium and potassium went down. 

Electrical conductivity was well below 1+.0 millimhos per centimeter 
making the soil non-saline. The lack of obvious soluble salts and the 
dispersed field condition confirms this analysis. 

The soluble cations and anions varied in amount. Soluble magnesium 
averaged slightly lower than calcium, 2.21+ to 3.58 respectively. Magnesium 
varied less with depth and from plot to plot than calcium. 

Sodium tended to increase with depth in the shallow-plowed block. Deep- 
plowing, however, caused the surface soil to be highest in the deep-plowed 
plots. The gypsum- and polysulfide-troated plots had lower sodium and higher 
calcium which was attributed to sodium replacement by calcium brought about by 
those treatments. 

There were no carbonates in any sample. Bicarbonates ranged from 1.1; to 
7.5 mil li equivalents per liter, and in general increesed with depth. Sulfate 
values were slightly lower than the bicarbonates. Chloride made up the 
largest part of the anions, averaging about 10 milliequivalents per liter. 



Classifying tho so soil sample c in torms of thoir salinity and alkalinity 
was eomewhat difficult duo to tho variations that occurred . However, most of 
tho soil samples taken woro in a transition or degraded stage of a non-saline- 

alkali soil. 

Morphologically, the soils wero in a transition stage between a Solonetz 
and a solodized-Solonotz. In the new soil classification system this soil would 
be a Typic Natrustoll.